Collin Ridout, Johnsburg blank Hampshire
JOHNSBURG – Johnsburg’s baseball team has relied heavily on Collin Ridout and Kevin Kordik through their high school careers and often received favorable results.
The two seniors delivered again Tuesday with most of the offense the Skyhawks required to subdue Hampshire, 3-0, in their Fox Valley Conference Fox Division game at Tigers Field.
Ridout doubled and scored twice, while Kordik added Johnsburg’s other two hits to keep the Skyhawks (9-10 overall, 6-5 FVC Fox) close to division-leading Grayslake Central (12-8, 7-4). That was ample run support for Ridout (5-0), who struck out five and allowed four hits over six innings for the victory.
“Collin and Kevin have been hitting the ball and seeing the ball real well lately,” Skyhawks coach Sam Lesniak said. “That’s good to see. They’re our horses and they carried us today. You have to maximize your hits when you don’t have many, we did a good job with that.”
Ridout, a fourth-year starter, doubled to the left-center field fence in the first, moved to third in Kordik’s infield hit and scored on a wild pitch. In the fourth, Ridout led off with a walk, stole second on a pitch in the dirt and scored on Kordik’s single. Kordik, a third-year starter, then stole second and scored on ground outs by Scott Sompel and Mike Pritts.
“It was base running that we practice all the time,” Ridout said of his steal. “It’s good to see that come out on the field. I saw [the pitch] shooting down, and I just left.”
Hampshire catcher Jayson Fleiser scooped the pitch, but was off-balance and could not catch the speedy Ridout.
“It was a tough day hitting, but we did a good job capitalizing on our base running,” Kordik said. “We’ve been working on making sure we can manufacture runs if it’s hard to hit that day.”
Hampshire (7-12, 2-7) was close to scoring in the first inning when R.J. Consigny walked and Michael Merchut singled on a hit-and-run with one out. Consigny advanced to third and Merchut hustled to second when a play was made on Consigny.
Consigny was then thrown out at home on a play that started with a wild pitch and involved a wild throw. Johnsburg catcher B.J. Garcia retrieved the ball in time to flip to Ridout covering home and get Consigny. The Whip-Purs only got one more runner past second base.
“When Collin [Ridout] gets ahead in the count, he’s tough,” Hampshire coach John Sarna said. “We were trying to get him early. The only way that’s effective is to get him early. Alex [Crinigan] pitched well, but unfortunately we gave them those runs and when you face a tough pitcher, you can’t make those mistakes.”
Crinigan (0-3) allowed only the hits to Ridout and Kordik and struck out three in six innings.
Johnsburg is enjoying its chase of Grayslake Central for the FVC Fox title. The Skyhawks travel to Hampshire on Thursday.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Kordik said. “Baseball is a lot fun this year. It’s a different feeling knowing you can contend with anyone in the conference if you play your game and play clean baseball, the way we’ve been doing. I think we’re going to play our best baseball in our later games and build up toward a good season.”
Lesniak, in his second season as coach, agrees.
“We’re in it right now,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for is to have an opportunity to be in it and hopefully come up with a couple of wins when we need to. Anytime you can be in a race, you have to be happy about it. We’re playing good baseball right now.”